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ran at cross purposes. Dahlgren came dledeckers. The theme of the maternal to love Marion, the quiet wife of honest, craving in maidenly breasts has been ineffectual, dull Walter Pertwee.

accorded far more humor and far less There came a moment once when the sympathy than it deserves, and Miss doctrine of expediency deserted him. Singmaster's quiet narrative of these Mastered by his emotions, he wrote two strange, gentle, devout, tranquilly Marion a love letter. But he was competent, sharply individualized saved from committing himself by an women has a depth and charm which ironic stroke of fate which forestalled have seldom been brought to bear upthe delivery of the letter. So Dahlgren on the subject, and never with happier marches on to larger things, trium- consequences. phant but unhappy, an unmoral oppor- Two other unusual stories of women tunist whose sense of values remains are "Legend" (Harper's, November) by permanently entangled. Dahlgren in Fleta Campbell Springer, and “A Finpolitics is the prototype of the eminent ished Story" (Good Housekeeping, realtor, Mr. George F. Babbitt, and October) by Ben Ames Williams. the Andersonian hero too a man Mr. Williams uses the frame of his dimly dissatisfied with the quality of usual "Fraternity"rural neighborhood. the civilization he supports, but eter- As author-auditor he hears and retells nally scuttled in his vision by a materi- the story of a fragile, unhappy wife in alistic philosophy.

the lumber camps who is rescued from The protagonist is again a woman in her husband's abuse by her young Wantin' a Hand” (Century, Novem- brother, then recaptured. After she is ber) by Lorna Moon. This story is dragged back to the sordid home, and simply a picture of the stream of con- chastised, the climax comes in the stark sciousness of a drunken Scotch washer- words of one of the men of Fraternity: woman. With morbid and maudlin “She did it alone. Fixed it so that imagination she reviews the tragic ac- Lovack hadn't any more

for cident which swept love and idealism her.” and hope and kindliness out of her life. Mr. Williams is very skilful at being As formless and sketchy as the short in, but not of, a story. Unobtrusively, story ever becomes, this presentation of he sees and records. His stories, cast a pitiful and defeated human being is, in the homely narrative style of his nevertheless, an excellent piece of sub- rough countrymen, often achieve a high jective writing, infinitely artistic and representativeness, and a quiet, unmoving.

stressed beauty which has not, I think, Elsie Singmaster, too, is a student of been sufficiently recognized. womankind. Like Ben Ames Williams, Mrs. Springer's story seems - in she believes that the use of the same plot — to be a story of crime and characters and background over and mystery. Well, it is that, and a good over again in short stories makes them

deal more.

The father of "the Klinger richer. “Little and Unknown" (La- girls” was found under incriminating dies' Home Journal, December) is one of circumstances with a murdered man, Miss Singmaster's best stories of those a stranger in the community. Old gentle rural Pennsylvanians, Betsy and Klinger swore to his innocence and his Tilly Shindledecker. The tragic end of daughters supported him, but he was a young city mother throws a tiny baby found guilty of murder and sentenced into the maidenly home of the Shin- to death. It was pneumonia that

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saved him. He died within a week that criticism has begun to look upon after the verdict.

him with kindliness; but he will not But this outline gives nothing of the mind; there are hosts of people who adstrange atmosphere of the story, or of mire and love him. Without concern its primary interest, which has to do for technical literary problems, they with the Klinger girls. They lived somehow know that Mr. Jacobs is inimapart from the world. It was known itable in his comic dexterity, his manthat they were clairvoyant. The neigh- agement of dialogue and exposition, borhood had had instances of the help- and in the difficult and delicate artifice ful character of their “sight”. It was which he handles with so great a tact. this sight upon which they based their Mr. Jacobs has created a delightful, defense of their father. They had bright little English cockney world, and "seen” two men waylay, kill, and rob the sooner you enter into it and disthe stranger before they sent their cover its wharves and pubs the merrier father to investigate. But this tes- life will be for you. timony seemed fantastic in the courtroom. The girls could not produce a

II trace of the men who did the deed, and A story which is built upon character the case went against them. Mrs. and events peculiar to special classes in Springer has done a notable piece of society, or racial characteristics, or geowork in creating a mood in which the graphical influences, is fairly sure to reader will accept these two odd, silent make an impression, whether because sisters, their strange power, and their of curiosity, our taste for the picturunusual relationship to the friendly, esque, some special bond of sympathy, bustling farming community in which or because of the opportunity the story they lived.

affords for escape from reality. Of all English writers, W. W. Jacobs The romantic note tends to prevail. is the reigning sovereign of the kind We want “the facts” far less than has of comedy he writes. “Something often been supposed, but rather a for Nothing" (Hearst's International, heightened, simplified, imaginative January) is a delightful introduction, treatment of them. Mr. Bercovici, for those who need it, to the garrulous for instance, in the story already mennight watchman, Peter Russet, to tioned, in “The Vineyard(Good Ginger Dick and Sam Small. The Housekeeping, January) and “The story in

Hearst's" concerns, of Storm” (Designer, January), displays course, these old and well loved an unusual gift for lucid and plausible heroes. It recounts — that is, the simplification. His concern is only night watchman recounts — how Sam with impetuous young lovers coming Small met man “whose on'y together over family opposition, with object in life is to do good to 'is rustic toil and feast days, with the fellow creechers”, and by what unde- weight of tribal tradition upon the indiserved good fortune Sam's comrades vidual, with the unfolding of the myssaved him eleven pounds and his watch teries of the rolling seasons. and chain after they had passed into The same qualities inhere in the the experienced hands of the doer of work of Edgar Valentine Smith, even good.

though his scene is American, and his It is only recently, some thirty years society far from barbaric. Mr. Smith after Mr. Jacobs first won a hearing, celebrates the old south, and his

a

“Cameo" (Harper's, December) is a which a broken down old minister goes tale of the gallant old gentleman made into the movies and disseminates a familiar by the southern school of an beneficent and regenerating influence earlier day - a man steeped in family among the disintegrated personalities lore, ordering every act as though the of the lurid Hollywood studios. ages (in the form of the portraits of his A much fairer story, because it atancestors) looked down austerely upon tempts to portray the solidarity of the him. The old gentleman lived finally people of the theatre, their pride in to settle the feud between his family their work, their sense of tradition, is and the Tollivers, the ancient foes of his Walter De Leon's "Locke and Keyes” house. And the way he settled it is (Hearst's International, December). Mr. Smith's own contribution to one of Here is a picture of the loyalties of the the distinctive veins of American ro- vaudeville artist. These loyalties mance.

formed the characters of the hero and A sketch from the life of a different heroine. It guided their lives. Not society of the south, the society of the even the fact that at the last moment fastnesses of the southern mountains, the girl discovers aristocratic family is Hodge Mathes's “The Linkster” connections in England, with a corre(Everybody's, October). The author sponding accretion of respectability, himself is the “linkster" Kentuck- dims one's perception of the fact that ian of the old Elizabethan word for Mr. De Leon has tried to write sintranslator. Called upon by wistful cerely. hill women during the war to translate But a far neater handling of the a letter from France, the linkster dis- same theme is Jesse Lynch Williams's covers that the letter is from a young “The Actress and the Lady" (CosmoFrench girl with whom the young son politan, October). A handsome young and husband has been playing fast and banker is in love with a beautiful young loose. How he saved the situation by actress who is a member of an old theatan innocuous translation, and by what rical family. (Her grandmother never slender chance he escaped discovery in forgets that she has acted with Booth.) his duplicity, is Mr. Mathes's own The climax comes in the comic diastory, and one well worthwhile.

logue between the young man's mother Of all the professions, none in cur- and Felicia's stately grandmother. rent fiction seems to outshine that of Each has the pride of family and prothe actor. Sometimes the stage is just fession and position; each thinks the a background for a story of love and proposed match a mésalliance. The courtship, as in Nels Leroy Jorgensen's mounting succession of misunderstand“The Clown Who Forgot to be Funny” ings all grow admirably out of the char(American Magazine, January); some- acter and ideals of the Shakespearian times as a variant of the success story, old lady. as in Grace Sartwell Mason's "Leave This general subject should not be It to Margie" (Red Book, September), left without reference to Arnold Benin which Margie O'Day by courage, nett's “House to Let” (Red Book, luck, cunning, and sheer ability wins a September). Mr. Bennett frequently leading part and a playwright too; and tosses off a pot boiler between mastersometimes the movie angle is added, as pieces, or when he doesn't feel quite up in "More Stately Mansions" (Red to a little handbook on philosophy. Book, October) by Samuel Merwin, in This story, dealing with the adventures in humility which came to a certain Mr. Mencken admires and his contribmusic hall star, seems to me to be one utors imitate; but for all its mordant of the pot boilers.

observation, it shows a complete ab

sence of vivacity or interest in any but III

an ugly, disagreeable world. I have constructed a little group of Mr. Galsworthy pictures a male type stories which bear relation to each of equally low grade material in “The other only in "the portrayal of man's Mummy” (Red Book, November). developing consciousness of himself Within the limits of a short story he among his contacts with life”. Yet really compresses a novel — the life from the point of view of artistic truth, story of Eugene Daunt who evaded the common bond is legitimate, and an responsibility all his life, who made an interesting test of the representative- art of inertia, who took without giving, ness of the author's presentation of and died miserably of gin and starhuman character.

vation. Stacy Aumonier has in “Dark Red Roses" (Everybody's, October) writ

IV ten “Othello" without lago, though Among the bachelors of nature now the part of Iago might justly be writing should be mentioned Herbert given to David Cardew's imagination, Ravenel Sass and Samuel Scoville, Jr., which stole in between him and his who steadily make romance and sentilovely wife Denise, and intimated that ment out of the survival of the fittest. she had a lover. Step by step Mr. Mr. Sass's “The Bachelors of DevilAumonier builds the fatal structure of head” (Saturday Evening Post, Defact, assumption, and false logic by cember 6) may be taken as representawhich a jealous imagination achieves tive. The whole suspense is built upits horrible chimeras, and the story on the hunt the stalking of a loon by clings in one's memory as a telling pres- a hawk, of a rabbit by a fox, and of the entation of the theme.

fox by a man. Nature, “red in tooth Jealousy, but different in kind, is and claw", is treated in the same spirit also the theme of Frank Swinnerton's in Mr. Sass's “Rusty Roustabout” “Miss Jedburys” (Ladies' Home Jour- (Saturday Evening Post, November 7), nal, October), in which two sisters are and in Mr. Scoville's stories, “When cruelly torn apart by the partialities of Red Rooi Was King” (Collier's, Oca little boy.

tober 4) and “The Death Dodger” The first published story of a new (Collier's, January 10). writer, Winifred Sanford, is “The Both these authors seem to dramaWreck” (American Mercury, January). tize successfully, and sentimentalize While a big freighter goes to pieces on falsely the law of the wild described the rocks and living men are turned to by Thoreau: “The perch gwallows hideous chunks of ice by the wintry the grub-worm, the pickerel swallows seas, Miss Sanford studies the mind of the perch, and the fisherman swalElsie, a sea coast trollop who titters lows the pickerel; and so all the chinks while her lover struggles futilely to in the scale of being are filled." rescue the doomed men - to one of “Why is the American short story so whom she has but recently granted sad?” queries Mr. E. J. O'Brien in the secret favors. This story has all the introduction to his latest annual. hard, cold, metallic brilliance which Then he goes on to describe a recog

was

nized condition, though his commen- lived in the Ramapo Hills of New Jertary is limited to a brief and not very

sey. The old

man a mystic. lucid gesture in the direction of the When he heard the frogs in the swamp dread inhibitions which are frequently at night it was like “the voice of the said to manacle our national spirit. world” to him.

But whatever the reasons, it is 'a fact that the really humorous, the

"If they could just sing together now it

would make a harmonylightly whimsical, the genuinely gay story is far too rare in our magazines. And so Old Man Saunders tried to I have recently noticed only six sto- capture a frog quartette, and the news ries which I should account as of this got about. Of course he was held to be class and the best three of them insane. He got into serious trouble are by English authors: one, W. W. over it, became a fugitive from the Jacobs's already mentioned "Something troopers, and was finally shot down for Nothing"; another, Elizabeth De - just as he succeeded in capturing the Burgh's “Mrs. Buckle" (Atlantic, Jan- final, the ultimate frog. A kindly uary), a merry tale much in the Jacobs friend, carrying out the old man's vein recording a delightfully garrulous thought, took the ultimate frog to the charwoman's criticism of life; and one secret pond where the rest were. The other, St. John Ervine's "Mr. Peden other three had escaped. Keeps His Cook" (Century, December) Mr. Dickinson is peculiarly identi- a delightful narrative of an epicure fied with influences which, along with who married his cook for the sake of Puritanism, are blamed for throttling his stomach, only to find that she had the creative effort of Americans. I become, perforce, a fine lady and would mean modern business. Mr. Dickincook for him no more!

son is a member of the editorial staff of Yet the mellowness of Mary Wolfe the “Printers' Ink" publications, and Thompson's “Turtle" (Midland, De- spends his days writing about sales recember), a sketch of how two old men sistance in the drug trade, market analcatch and eat, or try to eat, an enor- ysis, advertising copy, and what can be mous turtle the mellowness and done about educating the grocer to a gaiety of this American writer must be warmer appreciation of what food admitted. And still more interesting manufacturers accomplish in spending is “The Ultimate Frog" (Harper's, money for advertising space. “The November) by Roy Dickinson. This Ultimate Frog" gives an account of Mr. could not be called a humorous story on Dickinson's nights — and a very fine the grounds that it is humorous in in- and cheering one it is. There is yet tent. Indeed, its end is tragic and hope for us so long as any business man deeply moving. But it has a breezy, can write a story as good as this one. genuine humor, and with it an eerie And with regard to our Puritan inhibitouch of caprice. Told briefly, with- tions haven't we been somewhat glib out effort to convey its elusive flavor, it and sudden in making them the scapeis the story of Old Man Saunders who goat of our discontent?

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